Book of Proper Names, Paperback Book
4 out of 5 (1 rating)


From France's 'literary lioness' (Elle), The Book of Proper Names is the story of the hapless orphan girl, Plectrude.

Raised by her aunt, and unaware of the dark secret behind her past, she is a troubled but dreamy child who is both blessed and cursed by her intoxicating eyes.

Discovered to have enormous gifts as a dancer, she is accepted at Paris's most prestigious ballet school where she devotes herself to artistic perfection, until her body can take no more.

In a brilliantly succinct story of haunted adolescence and lost mothers, Nothomb propels the narrative forward until Plectrude is forced to take command of her own fate.


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Has all the qualities that makes me love Nothomb's writing: a storytelling that is deceptively simple, clear and exact. A story that is light in it's tone, but with sharp teeth hiding behind that casual smile. And a twist at the end that has the same sort of quality as a punchline in a joke (without being very funny) in that it makes everything fall into place in a completely new way, tilitng the perspective.120 slim pages, used with a nonchalant, skipping lightness that makes the pages turn themselves. I'm always left with the feeling that I've read Nothomb's books too quickly. This is no exception. A bitter bonbon of a book.

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